New Year QuickBooks Checklist for Small Businesses
What checks do you do for your business during the New Year? What usually needs the most attention? Share your insight in the comments!
Every New Year brings an opportunity for reflection, learning and growth. We know you’ve achieved a lot this past year, and now is the perfect time to give your business its annual “check-up” so you’re ready to scale in the months ahead.
Will you introduce new products? Hire employees? Up your marketing investment? Whatever your goal, reviewing and organizing your financial records is a critical step toward achieving even more business success next year.
Even if your fiscal year isn’t aligned with the calendar year, it’s still a great time for a deep-dive into your business -- and QuickBooks is here to help.
Run reports to learn for last year
1. Analyze your Product & Loss Reports
When you know exactly where your business stands, you can confidently invest in its continued success. In addition to checking yourBalance Sheet, run aProduct & Loss Reportin theReports module to see how your business is performing.
Compare this year’s profits to last year’s to see how far you’ve come. Pull monthly reports from last year and analyze your growth month-over-month. Understanding these trends gives you an idea of where you’re doing well and where you can make changes.
When you look at the data, ask yourself:
Which accounts performed better than expected?
Which month and season were the most profitable?
Were there any unexpected positive spikes? Any surprises?
2. Run a Sales Report
Which items were the most popular and profitable in 2017? Pull an itemized “Sales by Product/Service Detail” Report and identify the top performers.
If an item was a boon for your business, consider ordering extra stock for the next season. If a particular product category performed well, now might be a good time diversify your offerings for that category. If a product or service is underperforming, consider updating the price and track sales over the next few months.
Review your assets to know where you stand
1. Take inventory
Spend some time updating your Product and Services List and performing an inventory assessment. Good inventory management streamlines operations throughout the year, which ultimately lets you focus on product sales and cash flow instead of the actual storage merchandise.
Does your workspace need a revamp? Take note of any broken items and make a list of those needing repair. With your finance data in hand, factor new equipment purchases into next year’s budget and think ahead to large expenses coming in 2018.
Use this opportunity to update your fixed-assets (which includes equipment owned by your business and used in your operations for an extended period of time, such as furniture) in your Chart of Accounts so your books include everything your business owns.
3. Migrate to new QuickBooks products
Are there certain features you need that your current version of QuickBooks doesn’t provide? Or maybe you need a total product migration.
Moving from QuickBooks Desktop to “the cloud” with QuickBooks Online is easier to do after you’ve closed your books and started the New Year with fresh data. Small business training firm Fit Small Business authored a fantastic guide that can help you decide if you want to make the switch – their conclusion, use QuickBooks Desktop for inventory tracking and QuickBooks Online for ease of use.
Check in with your people
1. Update your employee profiles and payroll
Before you welcome new members to the team, update your existing employee records in the Employees module. Ask if anyone has moved or changed phone numbers.
If you’re using the Payroll feature, now is a good time to make adjustments to employee pay. Reward great performance and adjust pay accordingly – you’ll get even better results in 2018!
2. Reach out to your vendors
The New Year is a great time to strengthen your vendor relationships. Make sure vendor profiles, especially contact information, are complete and up-to-date. Consider sending your vendors a friendly holiday message (and offering them a seasonal “thank you” discount).
If you’re no longer working with a vendor, go to the “Vendors” Tab in the Expenses Module and select “Make Inactive” from the Action Column to keep lists clean and accurate.
Get ready for the fiscal year ahead
1. Prepare 1099-MISCs for your independent contractors
As you wind down another year of business, set a date to close your books for the Tax Year. Give yourself enough time to review your records, enter any unrecorded transactions and reconcile your bank accounts, but set a hard deadline to lock the data.
If your tax year ends on December 31st (most common), then the closing date for your books is December 31st. However, the deadline you set to actuallylock your books with a passwordand prevent further changes to the data should be the moment after you send your financial information to your tax preparer. The "lock-your-books" date could be a week or two after December 31st, just ensure that the closing date aligns with the tax year.
This is critical – you don’t want someone with access to your QuickBooks making modifications after you’ve sent off your financials to your accountant and ultimately, the IRS.
From the QuickBooks Dashboard, click the Gear Icon () and go to the “Advanced” Tab. Find the “Accounting” section and click the Pencil Icon (). Check “Close the Books” box and set a date. As an added layer of security, select “Allow changes after viewing a warning and entering a password” from the drop-down so no one can reopen the books without your permission
If you need resources to prepare for the end of the fiscal year:
Take a minute to check out this QB Community question in Finding Inspiration. You’ll learn what other small business owners and self-employed members are thinking about for 2018 and have the chance to share your own goals and aspirations.